Above: The smart hardwood seating at the bus stop beside one of the entrances to Dulwich Park. The shelter is opposite the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
For those who use buses, you are probably familiar with a bus stop. Some bus stops have shelters and many of them have a bench seat. It is not particularly comfortable but at least you can sit down while you wait for your bus. How many shelters there are in London with a bench seat I do not know but there must be thousands.
Above: The ‘normal’ red plastic bench seat seen in bus shelters all over London. This one is at the bus stop outside the Horniman Museum.
It would appear that the posh people of Dulwich also take the bus – when the Daimler or Rolls Royce is having its annual service – and they therefore also like to sit down while waiting for it to arrive. Almost opposite the Dulwich Picture Gallery is a bus stop on the only bus route to serve the centre of Dulwich Village – the P4. Instead of the normal red plastic bench, that is ‘standard issue’ at all bus stops around London, this bus shelter has a pair of carefully crafted teak bench seats so that the posh posterior does not catch a chill while enduring the inconvenience of waiting for public transport.
I am not aware of any other luxurious seats in bus shelters in other parts of London and I wonder whether Dulwich College has had some ‘input’ in providing such luxury at this particular location.
While on the subject of public transport in Dulwich, you may be interested to know that until the 1960s there was no bus service running through the centre of the village. The P4 route did not start until 1972. It was considered by the Estates Governors that buses would only spoil the idyllic peace of the rural setting. Even then, the Estates Governors only permitted single-deckers to operate on the route which runs from Brixton, via Dulwich and Honor Oak to Lewisham. The first few years of the service used a ‘Hoppa’ bus. Although the vehicles are now larger – to hold more people – the rule about single-decker buses through the village is still enforced over 40 years later!
Dulwich is not served by any railway station in the village either, for the same reason. The nearest is North Dulwich Station. Slightly further away is West Dulwich Station, on the South Circular Road. There is also East Dulwich Station which is situated so far away from the centre of Dulwich Village that it hardly qualifies as a ‘Dulwich’ station at all.
Perhaps, before we end, we should point out that although Dulwich has a higher proportion of wealthy residents than the adjacent areas around it, they are not all wealthy enough to drive around in a Daimler or a Rolls Royce. Some of its residents travel by bus on a daily basis as well as the many visitors who come to see Dulwich Park and the Picture Gallery by using this bus stop.